Food waste is a mounting problem in the United States and around the world. In the USA, up to 40% of all food produced is believed to be discarded and as much as 20% of food purchased for consumption at home is never eaten. It has been estimated that Americans throw away 130 billion pounds of food each year, which equates to a hefty 300 pounds per person!
The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) suggests that frozen foods can be a key to solving this problem. It has created a Food Waste Infographic that provides useful statistics and offers reasons why frozens are helpful in reducing the amount of food wasted nationwide.
The effects of food waste are staggering – on the economy, it equates to about $218 billion of food lost each year; on the environment, food discards rank as the number one garbage component found in America’s landfills; and for a family of four persons, it adds up to as much as $2,200 wasted in uneaten food per year.
Greater consumption of frozen products, which have a long shelf life compared to so-called fresh food, can cut waste and save the average household a considerable amount of money in the bargain. At the same time it also provides convenience, quality, innovative tastes and ease in food preparation.
The NFRA lists a number of reasons why buying frozen food is a good investment:
- The purchaser is paying for 100% edible food.
- There is no spoilage – use only what is needed and put the rest back in the freezer.
- Portion control equates to little or no waste.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables are consistently priced and always in season.
Freezing technology and eco-friendly packaging are keeping frozen foods fresher longer. Consider that fruits and vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness and flash-frozen within hours of harvest to lock in beneficial nutrients and keep them in their just-picked state. Similarly, fish is often frozen right on the boat or near the pond to maximize quality, nutrition and freshness.
Much of what American shoppers find in the frozen food aisles of supermarkets and grocery stores today has been developed and prepared by expert chefs in test kitchens across the nation and around the world – using real ingredients and rigorously evaluated by nutritionists and dietitians.